Yesterday on MSNBC, Republican Party of Florida Chairman Lenny Curry stated the reason that the unemployment rates have gone down throughout the Untied States was because of the Republican governors and legislatures. Of course, this required some fact checking to see if his claims were correct.
Of course, they weren’t.
After this statement, we decided to look at the shift in unemployment state-by-state and saw that Mr. Curry’s statement wasn’t true at all. Therefore, let’s take a look.
The state that has had the highest spike in unemployment is Connecticut, which does have a majority of Democrats in their House and Senate, as well as a Democratic governor. So, for the state that has the most job loss, Mr. Curry is correct. But he we look at the top 11 states with growing unemployment (we did top 11 because the increase in unemployment for #10 and #11 were the same), we see that three of them (Connecticut, Maryland and New York) have the governor and both houses of the legislature as Democratic. On the other side, Republicans control four of these states (Pennsylvania, Maine, Louisiana and Alabama). The other four states are split regarding control of the legislature and the governorship. Advantage: Nobody.
Now, let’s look at the top 20 states as far as increasing unemployment. Of these states, four of them (Tennessee, Alabama, South Dakota and Wyoming) have a veto-proof Republican legislature as well as a Republican governor. Only one Democratic state, Maryland, falls in this category. Overall, there were nine states in the top 20 that were controlled by Republican across the board. As for Democrats, there were five states. Therefore, in regard to the top 20 states (all which have seen an increase in unemployment), the Democrats seem to do a better job.
But Curry didn’t talk about states that were increasing the unemployment rate, but instead reducing it. So, let’s look at those. As far as the top 12 states on this list (again, because 10-12 have the same drop in rate), Mr. Curry can do a little chest-pounding. Of these states, five of them (Oklahoma, Florida, Idaho, Arizona and Indiana) have a veto-proof Republican government. There are only two Democratic states (Hawaii and Massachusetts) that can claim this. Two addition states (Ohio and Mississippi) have Republican, but not veto-proof, governments. The other three have split governments. So, in this case, Mr. Curry might be right. Advantage: Republicans.
But before we give Mr. Curry the Award of Truth, let’s look at this a little further. Some of the states on this top 12 list are pretty small. The next states on the list that have unemployment decrease are California and Illinois, both solid Democratic states. These two states alone have a larger population than all of the states with a veto-proof Republican majority. Therefore, a .3% drop in the unemployment rate in California and Illinois is much more significant than a .7% drop in Idaho. Therefore, while some of the states that have seen a large drop, their drop doesn’t contribute to the overall unemployment number drop. This is the point where Mr. Curry has “fuzzy math”.
Therefore, what Mr. Curry says isn’t exactly true. While some Republican governors and legislatures have been able to help the overall unemployment rate decrease, so have Democratic ones. To say that this is the work of one party or the other would be entirely inaccurate. Therefore, Mr. Curry’s statement isn’t entirely false, but far from being entirely true. It is purely on a state-by-state basis.
Even with this, the Democrats might have a huge problem on their hands in Florida come 2014. Florida is 3rd in lowering its state unemployment rate in the nation over the last nine months. That looks good for Rick Scott. In addition to that, Governor Scott has rejected stimulus money. Therefore, Scott can spin this by saying “I decreased unemployment without adding government jobs” in 2014. That is very bad news for Democrats.
Even with this, there is a silver lining. While Florida has added jobs, most of them have been low-wage jobs. Going back to the top 12 states that have seen job growth, all of the states with Republican-controlled governments on this list are among the worst states in median household income. In fact, Florida and Arizona are the only states that have seen a decrease in median household income. In the case of Florida, this has been happening over the last three years.
So, yes, in Florida you might have better luck finding a job. Unfortunately, that job will more than likely be a burger-flipper at Wendy’s compared to any high-skilled job.